When he was trying to win the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon famously told his chief of staff that he wanted Communist leaders—in the Soviet Union, in North Vietnam—to think that the U.S. president was a mad man, that he was capable of doing pretty much anything up to and including the use of nuclear weapons. Fear of an unpredictable, erratic leader would bring the Communists to the negotiating table and render them more conciliatory.
Nixon’s was, of course, a calculated craziness. “When the wind is southerly,” Tricky Dick certainly could distinguish “a hawk from a handsaw,” as Hamlet famously put it.
A half century later, America has had to deal with a different kind of crazy in the White House. Although Donald Trump has insisted that he’s a “stable genius,” all the evidence suggests otherwise. After Trump lost the 2020 election, even those in his close circle of advisors began to questio
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